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should drive in again her infectious sheep; therefore sent out because infectious, and not driven in but with the danger not only of the whole and sound, but also of his own utter perishing. Since force neither instructs in religion, nor begets repentance or amendment of life, but on the contrary, hardness of heart, formality, hypocrisy, and, as I said before, every way increase of sin; more and more alienates the mind from a violent religion, expelling out and compelling in, and reduces it to a condition like that which the Britons complain of in our story, driven to and fro between the Picts and the sea. If after excommunion he be found intractable, incurable, and will not hear the church, he becomes as one never yet within her pale, "a heathen or a publican," Matt. xviii. 17, not further to be judged, no not by the magistrate, unless for civil causes; but left to the final sentence of that Judge, whose coming shall be in flames of fire; that Maranathà, 1 Cor. xvi. 22, than which to him so left nothing can be more dreadful, and ofttimes to him particularly nothing more speedy, that is to say, The Lord cometh: in the mean while delivered up to Satan, 1 Cor. v. 5, 1 Tim. i. 20, that is, from the fold of Christ and kingdom of grace to the world again, which is the kingdom of Satan; and as he was received" from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God," Acts xxvi. 18, so now delivered up again from light to darkness, and from God to the power of Satan; yet so as is in both places manifested, to the intent of saving him, brought sooner to contrition by spiritual than by any corporal severity. But grant it belonging any way to the magistrate, that prophane and licentious persons omit not the performance of holy duties, which in them were odious to God even under the law, much more now under the gospel; yet ought his care both as a magistrate and a Christian, to be much more that conscience be not inwardly violated, than that licence in these things be made outwardly conformable: since his part is undoubtedly as a Christian, which puts him upon this office much more than as a magistrate, in all respects to have more care of the conscientious than of the prophane; and not for their sakes to take away (while they pretend to give) or to diminish the rightful liberty of religious consciences.
On these four scriptural reasons, as on a firm square, this truth, the right of christian and evangelic liberty, will stand immovable against all those pretended consequences of licence and confusion, which for the most part men most licentious and confused themselves, or such as whose severity would be wiser than divine wisdom, are ever aptest to object against the ways of God as if God without them, when he gave us this liberty, knew not of the worst which these men in their arrogance pretend will follow: yet knowing all their worst, he gave us this liberty as by him judged best. As to those magistrates who think it their work to settle religion, and those ministers or others, who so oft call upon them to do so, I trust, that having well considered what hath been here argued, neither they will continue in that intention, nor these in that expectation from them; when they shall find that the settlement
of religion belongs only to each particular church by persuasive and spiritual means within itself, and that the defence only of the church belongs to the magistrate. Had he once learnt not further to concern himself with church-affairs, half his labour might be spared, and the commonwealth better tended. To which end, that which I premised in the beginning, and in due place treated of more at large, I desire now concluding, that they would consider seriously what religion is: and they will find it to be, in sum, both our belief and our practice depending upon God only. That there can be no place then left for the magistrate or his force in the settlement of religion, by appointing either what we shall believe in divine things, or practise in religious, (neither of which things are in the power of man either to perform himself, or to enable others,) I persuade me in the christian ingenuity of all religious men, the more they examine seriously, the more they will find clearly to be true: and find how false and deviseable that common saying is, which is so much relied upon, that the christian magistrate is "Custos utriusque Tabulæ," Keeper of both Tables, unless is meant by keeper the defender only: neither can that maxim be maintained by any proof or argument, which hath not in this discourse first or last been refuted. For the two tables, or ten commandments, teach our duty to God and our neighbour from the love of both; give magistrates no authority to force either: they seek that from the judicial law, though on false grounds, especially in the first table, as I have shewn; and both in first and second execute that authority for the most part, not according to God's judicial laws, but their own. As for civil crimes, and of the outward man, which all are not, no, not of those against the second table, as that of coveting; in them what power they have, they had from the beginning, long before Moses or the two tables were in being. And whether they be not now as little in being to be kept by any Christian as they are two legal tables, remains yet as undecided, as it is sure they never were yet delivered to the keeping of any christian magistrate. But of these things perhaps more some other time; what may serve the present hath been above discoursed sufficiently out of the Scriptures: and to those produced, might be added testimonies, examples, experiences, of all succeeding ages to these times, asserting this doctrine: but having herein the Scripture so copious and so plain, we have all that can be properly called true strength and nerve; the rest would be but pomp and encumbrance. Pomp and ostentation of feading is admired among the vulgar: but doubtless in matters of religion he is learnedest who is plainest. The brevity I use, not exceeding a small manual, will not therefore, I suppose, be thought the less considerable, unless with them perhaps who think that great books only can determine great matters. I rather choose the common rule, not to make much ado, where less may Which in controversies, and those especially of religion, would make them less tedious, and by conse quence read oftener by many more, and with more benefit.
OF TITHES, CHURCH-FEES, AND CHURCH-REVENUES; AND WHETHER ANY
[FIRST PUBLISHED 1659.]
TO THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND, WITH THE DOMINIONS THEREOF.
OWING to your protection, Supreme Senate! this liberty
reason and ability, whereon ye trusted once (and repent
TOUCHING THE LIKELIEST MEANS
TO REMOVE HIRELINGS OUT OF THE CHURCH.
THE former treatise, which leads in this, began with two things ever found working much mischief to the one side restraining, and hire on the other side corrupting, the teachers thereof. The latter of these is by much the more dangerous: for under force, though no thank to the forcers, true religion ofttimes best thrives and flourishes; but the corruption of teachers, most commonly the effect of hire, is the very bane of truth in them who are so corrupted. Of force not to be used in matters of religion, I have already spoken; and so stated matters of conscience and religion in faith and divine worship, and so severed them from blasphemy and heresy, the one being such properly as is despiteful, the other such as stands not to the rule of Scripture, and so both of them not matters of religion, but rather against it, that to them who will yet use force, this only choice can be left, whether they will force them to believe, to whom it is not given from above, being not forced thereto by any principle of the gospel, which is now the only dispensation of God to all men; or whether being protestants, they will punish in those things wherein the protestant religion denies them to be judges, either in themselves infallible, or to the consciences of other men; or whether, lastly, they think fit to punish errour, supposing they can be infallible that it is so, being not wilful, but conscientious, and, according to the best light of him who errs, grounded on Scripture which kind of errour all men religious, or but only reasonable, have thought worthier of pardon, and the growth thereof to be prevented by spiritual means and church-discipline, not by civil laws and outward force, since it is God only who gives as well to believe aright, as to believe at all; and by those means, which he ordained sufficiently in his church to the full execution of his divine purpose in the gospel. It remains now to speak of hire, the other evil so mischievous in religion: whereof I promised then to speak further, when I should find God disposing me, and opportunity inviting. Opportunity I find now inviting; and apprehend therein the concurrence of God disposing; since the maintenance of church-ministers, a thing not properly belonging to the magistrate, and yet with such importunity called for, and expected from him, is at
present under public debate. Wherein lest any thing may happen to be determined and established prejudicial to the right and freedom of the church, or advantageous to such as may be found hirelings therein, it will be now most seasonable, and in these matters, wherein every Christian hath his free suffrage, no way misbecoming christian meekness to offer freely, without disparagement to the wisest, such advice as God shall incline him and enable him to propound: since heretofore in commonwealths of most fame for government, civil laws were not established till they had been first for certain days published to the view of all men, that whoso pleased might speak freely his opinion thereof, and give in his exceptions, ere the law could pass to a full establishment. And where ought this equity to have more place, than in the liberty which is inseparable from christian religion? This, I am not ignorant, will be a work unpleasing to some: but what truth is not hateful to some or other, as this, in likelihood, will be to none but hirelings. And if there be among them who hold it their duty to speak impartial truth, as the work of their ministry, though not performed without money, let them not envy others who think the same no less their duty by the general office of Christianity, to speak truth, as in all reason may be thought, more impartially and unsuspectedly without money.
Hire of itself is neither a thing unlawful, nor a word of any evil note, signifying no more than a due recompence or reward; as when our Saviour saith, "the labourer is worthy of his hire." That which makes it so dangerous in the church, and properly makes the hireling, a word always of evil signi fication, is either the excess thereof, or the undue manner of giving and taking it. What harm the excess thereof brought to the church, perhaps was not found by experience till the days of Constantine; who out of his zeal thinking he could be never too liberally a nursing father of the church, might be not unfitly said to have either overlaid it or choked it in the nursing, Which was foretold, as is recorded in ecclesiastical traditions, by a voice heard from heaven, on the very day that those great donations and church-revenues were given, crying aloud, "This day is poison poured
having left all things in his church to charity and christian freedom, he hath given them only what is justly given them. That, as well under the gospel, as under the law, say our English divines, and they only of all protestants, is tithes; and they say true, if any man be so minded to give them of his own the tenth or twentieth; but that the law therefore of tithes is in force under the gospel, all other protestant divines, though equally concerned, yet constantly deny. For although hire to the labourer be of moral and perpetual right, yet that special kind of hire, the tenth, can be of no right or necessity, but to that special labour for which God ordained it. That special labour was the levitical and ceremonial service of the tabernacle, Numb. xviii. 21, 31, which is now abolished: the right therefore of that special hire must needs be withal abolished, as being also ceremonial. That tithes were ceremonial, is plain, not being given to the Levites till they had been first offered a heave-offering to the Lord, ver. 24, 28. He then who by that law brings tithes into the gospel, of necessity brings in withal a sacrifice, and an altar; without which tithes by that law were unsanctified and polluted, ver. 32, and therefore never thought on in the first christian times, till ceremonies, altars, and oblations, by an ancienter corruption, were brought back long before. And yet the Jews, ever since their temple was destroyed, though they have rabbies and teachers of their law, yet pay no tithes, as having no Levites to whom, no temple where, to pay them, no altar whereon to hallow them: which argues that the Jews themselves never thought tithes moral, but ceremonial only. That Christians therefore should take them up, when Jews have laid them down, must needs be very absurd and preposterous. Next, it is as clear in the same chapter, that the priests and Levites had not tithes for their labour only in the tabernacle, but in regard they were to have no other part nor inheritance in the land, ver. 20, 24, and by that means for a tenth, lost a twelfth. But our Levites undergoing no such law of deprivement, can have no right to any such compensation: nay, if by this law they will have tithes, can have no inheritance of land, but forfeit what they have. Besides this, tithes were of two sorts, those of every year, and those of every third year: of the former, every ne that brought his hes, was to eat kis share: Deut. xiv. 23, "Thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil," &c. Nay, though he could not bring his tithe in kind, by reason of his distant dwelling from the tabernacle or temple, but was thereby forced to turn it into money, he was to bestow that money on whatsoever pleased him, oxen, sheep, wine, or strong drink; and to eat and drink thereof there before the Lord, both he and his houshold, ver. 24, 25, 26. As for tithes of every third year, they were not given only to the Levite, but to the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, ver. 28, 29, and chap. xxvi. 12, 13. So that ours, if they will have tithes, must admit of these sharers with them. Nay, these tithes were not paid in at all to the Levite, but the Levite himself was to
into the church." Which the event soon after verified,
come with those his fellow-guests, and eat his share | ligion before the law written, is not presently to be of them only at his house who provided them; and counted moral, when as so many things were then this not in regard of his ministerial office, but because done both ceremonial and judaically judicial, that we he had no part or inheritance in the land. Lastly, need not doubt to conclude all times before Christ the priests and Levites, a tribe, were of a far different more or less under the ceremonial law. To what end constitution from this of our ministers under the served else those altars and sacrifices, that distinction gospel in them were orders and degrees both by of clean and unclean entering into the ark, circumfamily, dignity, and office, mainly distinguished; cision, and the raising up of seed to the elder brother? the high priest, his brethren and his sons, to whom Gen. xxxviii. 8. If these things be not moral, though the Levites themselves paid tithes, and of the best, before the law, how are tithes, though in the example were eminently superiour, Numb. xviii. 28, 29. No of Abraham and Melchisedec? But this instance is so protestant, I suppose, will liken one of our minis- far from being the just ground of a law, that after all ters to a high priest, but rather to a common Levite. circumstances duly weighed both from Gen. xiv. and Unless then, to keep their tithes, they mean to bring Heb. vii, it will not be allowed them so much as an back again bishops, archbishops, and the whole gang example. Melchisedec, besides his priestly benedicof prelatry, to whom will they themselves pay tithes, as tion, brought with him bread and wine sufficient to reby that law it was a sin to them if they did not? ver. fresh Abraham and his whole army; incited to do so, 32. Certainly this must needs put them to a deep de- first, by the secret providence of God, intending him mur, while the desire of holding fast their tithes with- for a type of Christ and his priesthood; next, by his out sin may tempt them to bring back again bishops, due thankfulness and honour to Abraham, who had as the likeness of that hierarchy that should receive freed his borders of Salem from a potent enemy: Abratithes from them; and the desire to pay none, may ad- ham on the other side honours him with the tenth of vise them to keep out of the church all orders above all, that is to say, (for he took not sure his whole estate them. But if we have to do at present, as I suppose with him to that war,) of the spoils, Heb. vii. 4. Incited we have, with true reformed protestants, not with he also by the same secret providence, to signify as papists or prelates, it will not be denied that in the gos-grandfather of Levi, that the Levitical priesthood was pel there be but two ministerial degrees, presbyters and excelled by the priesthood of Christ. For the giving deacons; which if they contend to have any succession, of a tenth declared, it seems, in those countries and reference or conformity with those two degrees under times, him the greater who received it. That which the law, priests and Levites, it must needs be such next incited him, was partly his gratitude to requite the whereby our presbyters or ministers may be answer- present, partly his reverence to the person and his beneable to priests, and our deacons to Levites; by which diction to his person, as a king and priest, greater rule of proportion it will follow that we must pay our therefore than Abraham, who was a priest also, but not tithes to the deacons only, and they only to the minis- a king. And who unhired will be so hardy as to say, ters. But if it be truer yet, that the priesthood of Aaron that Abraham at any other time ever paid him tithes, typified a better reality, 1 Pet. ii. 5, signifying the either before or after; or had then, but for this accichristian true and “ holy priesthood to offer up spiritual dental meeting and obligement; or that else Melchisesacrifice;" it follows hence, that we are now justly dec had demanded or exacted them, or took them other. exempt from paying tithes to any who claim from wise than as the voluntary gift of Abraham? But our Aaron, since that priesthood is in us now real, which in ministers, though neither priests nor kings more than him was but a shadow. Seeing then by all this which any other Christian, greater in their own esteem than has been shewn, that the law of tithes is partly cere- Abraham and all his seed, for the verbal labour of a monial, as the work was for which they were given, seventh day's preachment, not bringing, like Melchisepartly judicial, not of common, but of particular right dec, bread or wine at their own cost, would not take to the tribe of Levi, nor to them alone, but to the owner only at the willing hand of liberality or gratitude, but also and his houshold, at the time of their offering, require and exact as due, the tenth, not of spoils, but and every three years to the stranger, the fatherless, of our whole estates and labours; nor once, but yearly. and the widow, their appointed sharers, and that they We then it seems, by the example of Abraham, must were a tribe of priests and deacons improperly com- pay tithes to these Melchisedecs: but what if the perpared to the constitution of our ministry; and the tithes son of Abraham can neither no way represent us, or given by that people to those deacons only; it follows will oblige the ministers to pay tithes no less than that our ministers at this day, being neither priests nor other men? Abraham had not only a priest in his loins, Levites, nor fitly answering to either of them, can have but was himself a priest, and gave tithes to Melchiseno just title or pretence to tithes, by any consequence dec either as grandfather of Levi, or as father of the drawn from the law of Moses. But they think they faithful. If as grandfather (though he understood it have yet a better plea in the example of Melchisedec, not) of Levi, he obliged not us, but Levi only, the inwho took tithes of Abraham ere the law was given; feriour priest, by that homage (as the apostle to the whence they would infer tithes to be of moral right. Hebrews clearly enough explains) to acknowledge the But they ought to know, or to remember, that not exgreater. And they who by Melchisedec claim from amples, but express commands, oblige our obedience to Abraham as Levi's grandfather, have none to seek their God or man: next, that whatsoever was done in retithes of but the Levites, where they can find them.